The point I’m trying to illustrate here is that fairness in immigration policy has to be understood in the context of scarcity. The demand for U.S. residency, given how wealthy the country is, vastly outstrips the supply of immigration spots that America offers or can realistically offer. Moreover, no country on earth has a fully open-borders policy as a matter of law.

The question of justice that arises, then, is this: Is it fair to all those people who want to come to the U.S. but cannot (owing to oceans and immigration laws) that people in violation of U.S. immigration law are allowed to stay? You might say that the fact that DACA-eligible individuals were brought as children defeats these considerations of fairness. But what of the millions of Bangladeshi children, many of whom have nothing but a sweatshop to look forward to? They would have loved to grow up in the U.S.

And what of the children who were brought into the U.S. legally? DACA offers no protections to such individuals. Many of the visas the U.S. offers, including the F-1 student visa and the H1-B, are temporary, and many children are brought to the U.S. as dependents by parents who have such visas. Such a child can be in the same situation as a DACA recipient: She grew up mostly in the U.S., but would have to leave once her parents’ visa runs out.